The key to the efficient burn is effort, says Porcari. “You should be feeling extremely uncomfortable. If you aren’t exhausted by the end of this workout, you aren’t doing it right.”
The researchers modeled the circuit after high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a workout style that includes periods of intense effort followed by a short recovery.
(Looking for a HIIT workout geared toward runners? Jordan Metzl, M.D., a marathoner and sports physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, designed the training series IronStrength specifically to prevent running injuries and increase speed.)
In the study, participants completed an exercise all-out for 20 seconds then rested for 10, repeating the process in five, four-minute segments.
“What it all boils down to is overtraining specific metabolic systems,” says Porcari. “You can only run a race at a certain pace for so long. When you do high-intensity interval training, you shift that threshold up. It’s why athletes do intervals.”
For runners looking to incorporate a bodyweight HIIT routine Porcari recommends keeping it to once or twice a week. That way you are allowing plenty of time for recovery between sessions.
Also swimming is a great low-impact exercise for individuals who have joint or weight-bearing issues. It’s a great full-body workout that works every muscle while incorporating a cardio element, too. Swimming for 30 to 60 minutes per day can also reduce your risk for stroke. Also, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and can lower your resting heart rate.